Why this Greek island should be on everyone's bucket list
Hello and welcome to the gorgeous Ionian island of Zakynthos! Over the course of the last few years this island has gone on to become one of the most popular Greek island, and that’s not just because of the famous shipwreck which lies in the Smugglers Bay! Read on to discover the most beautiful places with my handy Zakynthos tips!
The island of Zakynthos lies in western Greece and is the southernmost of the so-called Ionian Islands, which also include Corfu and Kefalonia. Steep cliffs and lush vegetation characterise Zakynthos, as well as the numerous, gorgeous bays and the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea which surround the island. So if that sounds like the kind of thing you’re craving for your next summer holiday, then definitely take a look at these gorgeous places…
As you probably already know, Zakynthos is a real paradise for all sunbathing fanatics and beach enthusiasts. That’s why I’d like to introduce to you the prettiest beaches on the island. It’s best to explore the island with a rental car or a moped, so you can reach all the beaches and sights in a quick and simple way. The most well-known, and therefore also the busiest beach on Zakynthos is the Navagio Beach, also known as Smuggler’s Cove. The bay is enclosed by high, steep rock faces and can only be entered from the sea. It’s in this bay where you will find the landmark of the island: a wreck of a smugglers’ ship which was grounded here in 1980 and has since become the most popular photo motif of the island. Numerous holidaymakers come to the bay aboard excursion boats to swim in the Smugglers Bay and see the wreck for themselves. You’ll have an even better perspective from the viewing platform which is located high above on the steep rocks of the bay. The perfect place to get some holiday snaps done!
Admittedly, Navagio Beach is more of a place to do some sightseeing rather than relaxing and sunbathing in peace for hours on end. But I’d like to present a beach where you can do just that: Kalamaki Beach. The sandy beach is perfect for a lavish sunbathing session and the numerous tavernas in the area will provide you with all you could possibly need. Don’t be surprised by the racks made from iron and wood which you can spot all over the beach – these are actually the breeding grounds of Karetta turtles, a protected species. With a bit of luck you might even be able to see a few eggs hatch yourself. You’ll often run (or even swim) into these gentle sea dwellers on Zakynthos – they are the mascot of the island, so to speak.
A great bay for swimming in can be found in the west of the island. Limnionas Bay doesn’t have a beach, but the wonderfully turquoise-blue waters are just made for swimming or snorkelling and it takes just a little climb or scramble across the rocks to get there. This bay is a bit out of the way, so chances are you’ll be sharing the experience with just a handful of other people.
If you’re looking for a place with a bit more going on and where cocktails are easy to come by, then the Laganas Beach is the right place for you. Party-goers make their way from bar to bar on the beach after a spot of sunbathing during the day. Plenty to keep you going here! In the north-east of Zakynthos you’ll find a somewhat unusual beach. The waters on Xygia Beach are regarded by the locals has having healing properties thanks to the minerals released by the sulphur springs in a nearby cave. The beach itself is pint-sized but very nice – you’re best coming here by car.
Another beach that’s a bit more secluded can be found in the south-east of Zakynthos, on the Vasilikos Penninsula. Dafni Beach lies in a nature reserve, which is used as a breeding ground by Karetta turtles in the summer. It can be reached only via a narrow road so it’s really empty. You can relax in peace here and stop at one of the small taverns near the beach for a hearty bite to eat.
Further amazing sights on the island
There are more things to see on Zakynthos than just the various beaches of course. The turtles are an obvious highlight and can be spotted all over the island. You’ll keep bumping into their breeding grounds on many beaches – just be sure to keep an eye out for them! If you love marine life, then you can book a tour in a boat with a glass floor, where you can observe the sea animals in their natural habitat or even swim with them. A trip to Marathonissi Island, also known as Turtle Island, is also worth it. The little island just off the coast of Zakynthos serves as another turtle breeding ground, and while it’s privately owned you can still go and visit. It’s best to just take your snorkelling gear with you, since the small bays of the island are just made for exploring. At the same time it’s a good idea to make a trip to the small town of Limni Keri in south-west of the island. You definitely shouldn’t miss it – enjoying the breathtaking, panoramic view from the lighthouse is a one of a kind experience!
Since you’re already in Keri, you could also visit the Keri Caves. The caves and rock formations are frequented by boats which you can either rent privately or book as a guided tour. Occasionally the boats anchor at various spots and you have the opportunity to swim a little and go snorkelling. A boat tour is definitely a great opportunity to view Zakynthos from a different perspective.
A nice trip to make on foot is Cameo Island. The island, which used to be connected to the mainland, can be reached via a small wooden bridge. The small, idyllic island features a beach-bar, where you can enjoy a drink accompanied by awesome views of Zakynthos and a very unique atmosphere. You’ll be asked to pay entry, but it includes a free drink at the bar. Cameo transforms into a real party-island at night. Holidaymakers on Zakynthos talk about unforgettable evenings filled with a breathtaking atmosphere.
Zakynthos – a little slice of heaven
Zakynthos really is fantastic destination no matter what your tastes are. So if you’re planning a trip to Greece, this Ionian island should definitely be up there on your list. And it’s definitely one of those places where you’ll realise that it really is as beautiful as the pictures look – maybe even prettier!
If you want to plan your own holiday to Zakynthos, then here’s some handy links for you:
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